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Minimalist Skincare (aka Skinimalism): What's All the Hype About?

Minimalist Skincare (aka Skinimalism): What's All the Hype About? - Syll Botanics

Minimalist skincare (“skinimalism”) has been gaining popularity and for good reason. With limited time and resources, people are looking to simplify their routines and focus on what makes the biggest impact. Sensitive skin is also a growing concern, which has been linked to the use of too many products and overexposure to irritating ingredients.

If you're a mom, skinimalism might be exactly what you are looking for, as complicated skincare routines tend not to serve during this time of life. Additionally, new skin and safety concerns often arise with pregnancy and young children, and a minimalist skincare approach can help address these challenges.

So what exactly is skinimalism?

Syll defines skinimalism as the practice of using only a few, high-quality products in a streamlined routine to achieve healthy, beautiful skin. For many, an added benefit is that by doing more with less, one's personal care experience is actually enhanced and leads to better skin. Further, by utilizing products that are crafted so you can make the most out of the least number of products, you can save time and money, reduce waste and minimize the risk of irritation.

Simplicity and consistency are core principles of this approach. This means sticking to a dedicated, easy-to-follow routine, rather than constantly trying out new products. This will also help you better understand what works best for your skin over time. 

How do I create a minimalist skincare routine?

We recommend the following day and night practices to get yourself started. 

AM Skincare Routine: Rinse > Treat > Moisturize+Protect

  1. If you've cleansed properly at night (use a clean pillow case and keep your hair off your face), go ahead and skip the AM cleanse - seriously! A suds-free, warm water rinse helps preserve your skin barrier and microbiome. Bonus: your AM routine just got easier. 
  2. For your second AM step, invest in a high-quality serum that won't make your skin sun sensitive, as your active treatments should have a big impact on your skin. 
  3. Finish with a moisturizing, broad-spectrum 30+ mineral SPF. You can even use a tinted SPF/CC Cream to eliminate a fourth makeup step!

    PM Skincare Routine: Cleanse > Treat/Moisturize

    1. Seek out a pH-balanced cleanser that effectively removes makeup & sunscreen without stripping the skin (avoid alkaline bar soaps and use gentle, fragrance-free cleansers). Consider a double cleanse if you have worn heavy/waterproof makeup or sunscreen that day (even if it's with the same cleanser). Finally, using a clean, soft washcloth will help remove the day's dirt and provides some physical exfoliation in one step. 
    2. Depending on your skin needs, follow with a treatment serum and/or skip  right to a night cream. Even better —  if you can find a multi-tasking serum that moisturizes and can be used both AM & PM, you've truly maximized your minimalist routine in two steps.

    [Exfoliation PSA: scrubs can be abrasive to delicate facial skin, and be careful using strong alpha-hydroxy acids while pregnant and post-partum when skin is particularly sensitive. We like polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) or enzymatic exfoliation 1-2 times per week, which are appropriate for any skin type and they are not sun-sensitizing.]

      Less is more when it comes to skincare

      Here are some additional minimalist skincare tips and considerations: 

      • Look for high-quality products that are appropriate for your skin type and concerns. They should be formulated to improve overall skin health and be non-irritating (harsh/strong does not = results). This will help you choose products that lead to overall more resilient, comfortable, and beautiful skin.
      • Sustainability and safety go hand in hand with skinimalism because the practice reduces product waste and can help prevent undesirable chemical exposure. As a baseline, look for brands that do not use materials derived from petroleum and do use responsibly cultivated ingredients. Avoid plastic packaging where possible. 
      • Choose quality over quantity. Look for products that offer comprehensive functionality and benefits, are formulated with nourishing ingredients, and avoid buying a myriad of products for day and night.
      • If you are trying to conceive, are pregnant, postpartum, or breastfeeding, consider additional parameters to minimize your exposure to chemicals of concern or sensitizing ingredients — especially when using on a daily basis and/or on large areas of your body. Stick to natural products that are not heavily scented (avoid "fragrance”) and do not increase skin or sun sensitivity. Look for brands that intentionally formulate with reproductive safety in mind. This general guidance will serve people with sensitive skin as well.
      • Be consistent. On average it takes a month for skin cells to regenerate, so allow time to see results before making changes to your routine.

        A minimalist approach helps lead to positive change because it's realistic to maintain over the long term. And using fewer, optimally formulated products will keep your skin looking and feeling its best.

        Finally, though it may sound cliché, don’t forget about self-care. Mental and physical health are critical, and they can have a positive impact on your skin. A good place to start  —  especially if you are a new mom — is with the basics. Try to get enough sleep, eat nutritious foods, stay hydrated, move your body, take breaks to recharge, and confide in someone when you need support.

        Every individual's needs are unique, but your skincare routine should be mentally and physically beneficial and serve long term. So we hope these tips help you to create an effective routine that ultimately works for you


        Misery, L., Sibaud, V., Merial-Kieny, C., & Taieb, C. (2018). Sensitive skin in the American population: prevalence, clinical data, and role of the dermatologist. International journal of dermatology, 57(6), 710-715.

        Lee, S. E., & Chung, K. Y. (2019). The effects of minimal skincare routine on skin hydration and barrier function. Journal of cosmetic dermatology, 18(4), 966-971.

        Muggli, R. (2013). Skin cleansing: the balance of what works and what is mild. Journal of drugs in dermatology: JDD, 12(9), 989-994.

        Lee CH, Chuang HY, Shih CC, et al. Skin Barrier Disruption by Sodium Lauryl Sulfate-Containing Cleansers: A SCORAD Study. J Investig Dermatol. 2016;136(5):1012-1015. doi:10.1016/j.jid.2015.12.045

        Lio PA, Lee M, LeBovidge J, Timmons K, Schneider L. Clinical evidence of soap-free cleansers for acne treatment. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2014;7(5):37-50. PMID: 24847454; PMCID: PMC4025519.

        Mennella, J. A. (2021). Cosmetics, Personal Care Products, and Food: Roles in Perinatal Health. Journal of perinatal and neonatal nursing, 35(1), 6-12.

        Please note this information is not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent any disease. If you have a specific medical concern, please consult with a licensed medical professional for personalized care.


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